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Universal Pictures has hired Peter Schlessel to be the new CEO of Focus Features.
Schlessel will replace James Schamus who is leaving, the Los Angeles Times reports. Schlessel is the founder of FilmDistrict.
As part of the move, FilmDistrict movies will be released by Focus, beginning next year. It currently has a deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment to for distribution.
Schlessel wrote in a statement, "It is a great honor to be joining Donna and the other talented executives at Universal Pictures. The Focus brand is respected throughout the industry and we intend to build on this while expanding the perception of what constitutes a Focus Features film."
Universal brought on Schlessel as it hopes to expand the movies that Focus releases, hoping to put out about 10 films a year through the name.
Focus Features is known for films like Moonrise Kingdom, Brokeback Mountain and the upcoming Dallas Buyers Club.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Schlessel's move comes mere weeks after Jeff Shell replaced Adam Fogelson as Donna Langely's boss, which gives her increased power.
Langely said, "The breadth and depth of Peter's experience in the film business including production, acquisitions, distribution and most recently running FilmDistrict, will be a tremendous asset to Focus Features as the company broadens its portfolio beyond the production and distribution of specialty product."
According to Universal, Schamus will be working with Ang Lee on a boxing film.